really awful
Crashes / Fires:
9 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
4 / 0
Average Mileage:
6,203 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2018 Toyota Highlander brakes problems

brakes problem

Find something helpful? Spread the word.
Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2018 Toyota Highlander:

Unsubscribe any time. We don't sell/share your email.

2018 Toyota Highlander Owner Comments (Page 2 of 3)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #25

Feb 282022


  • miles


Vehicle wouldn't start. Shows low break power stop the vehicle in a safe area. Luckily this happened when I was not driving. Breaks felt stuck.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #24

Nov 242021


  • miles
Sudden warning lights that the brake system is low. The vehicle is inoperable.

- Monterey, TN, USA

problem #23

Oct 222021


  • miles
I bought this 2018 Toyota Highlander xle brand new from the dealer on 2018.My first brakes and rotors were changed by toyota dealer on march 2020 at 24000 miles and then the second time again brakes and rotors were changed december 2020 at 39000. Both time it was Toyota OEM parts. Now at 63000 these ae weare out i bought different company breaks and brembo rotors akebonno brakes. Each time it was more than $800 job. It looks like toyota is making very cheap break pads and rotors and for consumers are not getting what they say about their brakes and rotors. Which ia supposed to be 30000 miles. I am requesting someone to tale a look at this matter and save the consumers to spend less. Thank you

- Jamaica, NY, USA

problem #22

Sep 112021


  • miles


Where the incident happened? The incident happened at the following google coordinates (39.21707240377137, -77.6491829535095) on an unpaved, but well-maintained road. When this incident took place" 09/11/2021 -€" around 10.30am Who is travelling with you" I was travelling with my wife (Vijaya) and Pet Dog (Leo). Both my wife and I have the seat belts on. How are the driving conditions" A bright and sunny morning with clear visibility, minimal wind and no rain. The road is totally dry. In a way perfect driving condition. How the incident happened? A white truck came in the opposite direction and since the road is narrow I pulled my highlander to the right, where there is some loose gravel on the side of the road. When I pulled to the side I am almost at a standstill and after the truck had passed started moving the car towards the middle of the road. At this moment the Highlander suddenly started swiveling to the left, and the traction became very wobbly and when tried to apply brakes, brake did not work at all. In stead the car started going out of control on the left side and is about to crash into 2 large trees on the side of the car. At that time without having any control over the brakes, I tried to steer towards right and the car turned sharp towards right, crossed road and fell into a 15 feet ditch on the right side of the car. What is the Car behavior witnessed" Total loss of Breaks, self-acceleration, and unpredictable steering control. The whole incident might-€™ve happened in about 10-15 seconds. Neither the auto-braking nor the collision control has triggered. Not sure what triggered this behavior of the car. It appeared as if the car tried to auto-correct the traction and something malfunctioned.

- Leesburg, VA, USA

problem #21

Jul 242021


  • miles
Driving on the FWY at 67 MPH.I received -€œBraking Power Low, stop at a safe place-€ I pulled over and went to a Toyota dealership and they told me it is not covered and considered as a recall for my vehicle. EVEN though the same problems have been identified for the same make and vehicle under recall #18V211000 Please help. I don-€™t think it-€™s right that Toyota can say it is not covered simply because they haven-€™t identified it with my specific vin and or the manufacturer they used.

- San Luis Obispo, CA, USA

problem #20

Jun 132021


  • miles
Toyota issued a service bulletin for my vehicle in 2020 to address surging front brakes. In April, 2020 my vehicle experienced surging that caused severe shimmy of the front of the entire vehicle in downhill braking at highway speed. Kendall Toyota, Bend, OR replaced the entire front brake system under the bulletin. The mileage was approx. 26,500. That problem recurred about June 13, 2021 in the same circumstances. The mileage was approximately 36,500. Kendall indicates that Toyota has not issued a new service bulletin covering this condition. Kendall found all brake system parts to be in good condition, but noted that "front rotors severely glazed.... typically be (sic) due to heat caused by repeat high speed/downhill braking, or longer periods of brake applications while driving." Prior service records (every 5K miles) show no unusual brake wear/rotor glazing -- ever.

- Sisters, OR, USA

problem #19

Jun 132021


  • miles


Upon turning on the vehicle the brake peddle locked and the steering wheel. Message prompted "braking power low, stop in safe place". After that all electronic features failed and vehicle did not turn on at all. Vehicle wouldn't even lock. Mine and my families safety was at risk due to the fact that this could have happened while the vehicle was in motion and all steering and braking abilities are lost. The vehicle is scheduled to be seen. No warning signs/lampsor other symptoms where present prior to the incident.

- Schertz, TX, USA

problem #18

Jun 102021


  • miles
Accordingly to Toyota vehicle Maintenance Schedule, the vacuum pump for the brake booster needs to be replaced as a regular maintenance or "wear" item every 120,000 miles. This is a very expensive maintenance item (>$600 in parts, ~$1000 including labor and shop materials), that needs to be performed by a Toyota certified technician. In addition to being very expensive, what will discourage many vehicle owners from performing this service, one may expect that many owners who perform their own vehicle maintenance or use independent mechanic shops will simply miss this service altogether. Being a safety critical item, the vacuum pump should be designed to last the entire lifespan of the vehicle (just like other brake system components: ABS pump, vacuum booster, master cylinder, etc.). The short lifespan of the vacuum pump and the requirement to replace it on a regular basis is indicative of a defective or deficient design. Making the replacement of the vacuum pump a scheduled maintenance item is a just way for Toyota to avoid liability due to premature failures of a substandard safety component, especially in light that other brake system components are designed to last for the entire life of the vehicle, and are not considered wear items in the maintenance schedule (except for brake pads, of course). Toyota should redesign the vacuum pump to increase its lifespan in-line with the rest of the brake system components, and perform the replacement under a safety recall or service campaign, at no cost to vehicle owners.

- Tucson, AZ, USA

problem #17

Jan 262021


  • 64,324 miles
The vehicle was in my driveway both times that this has happened so far. I went out first thing in the morning to start it and the brake pedal was extremely hard when I went to press the pedal in order to put the engine start button and all of the electronics turned on but the vehicle refused to start and displayed a message stating "braking power low, stop in a safe place. I found a recall notice that was shared on the Toyota forums for this exact reason; however, mine isn't included in the recall along with many other people that were also excluded and are having this same problem, according to the number of complaints on the Toyota and Lexus forums. I have attached a copy of the recall that was posted on the forum along with the message that was displayed when my Highlander wouldn't start. I kept trying for 10 minutes and finally used the remote start to start it (which made the brake pedal soft enough to press down). I then turned off the remote start and was then able to start it like normal. Had I not had remote start, I would have had to have the vehicle towed.

- Morehead City, NC, USA

problem #16

Oct 152020


  • 21,500 miles
An inspection found my left rear brake was severely worn at only 21000 miles. This is so unusual I want to register my complaint. All of the three brakes were only lightly worn.

- Erie, PA, USA

problem #15

Aug 172020


  • 48,000 miles


Intermittently during normal driving conditions, there exists instances where brake hydraulic failure occurs. At times the "brake" indicator light will illuminate associated with increased brake pedal feel. Braking power is reduced. Also, driver display screen displays "braking power low" warning indication. After stop and placing in park, brake hydraulic power returns and operate as normal.

- Fuquay Varina, NC, USA

problem #14

Apr 152020

Highlander 6-cyl

  • 10 miles
While driving, the vehicle was having issues braking as it would not want to come to a stop. The engine light would turn on indicating issue but would disappear from dashboard. There was at times that accident would almost occur due to not being able to properly stop. During the time of driving this occurred on a highway while in motion. Took vehicle to dealership and computer would not register the issue as the engine light was no longer activating. Employees took vehicle for test driver and determined something was wrong as he could also sense an issue with braking. Vehicle was left at the dealership for repairs.

- Mission, TX, USA

problem #13

Feb 232020


  • 21,000 miles
Slammed on the breaks and the car kept going and crashed into another car infront of me. There was at least 300 feet distance from the time I slammed on the breaks till the crash. I was going on highway about 50 mph.

- Levittown, NY, USA

problem #12

Jan 042020


  • 12,880 miles
Slowly (3-5mph) moving toward exit ramp from hospital parking lot. Tried to brake before turning right onto ramp, but service brake didn't respond -- felt like I was just pounding the floor. Vehicle continued to coast. I turned it onto exit ramp. During coast down ramp the multi-function display showed "low brake power" or "brake power low". vehicle speed remained relatively constant. I shifted into R (reverse), think that no harm would come to transmission at that speed, but nothing happened; coast remained constant. Luckily no vehicles were in front of mine and none were coming on rt 25 brighton ave westbound in portland me, so I was able to steer the coasting vehicle to a slow stop along the road's edge (but still halfway into the travel lane). Then the multi-function display told me that the vehicle's engine had been turned off (not by me). A city bus came along about one minute later; if it had come by one minute before that there would have been a collision with my vehicle. After waiting to recover from the shock of that event, I started the vehicle and tested the brakes, and they seemed normal and there were no unusual lights on messages on the vehicle displays. I tried driving it carefully, and it seemed normal, so I drove it off brighton ave and ultimately got it home in buxton without any more adverse events. Today I looked at the brake fluid reservoir and it was normal (1/4 inch below max). I'm having it towed to the dealership where I bought it on March 1, 2018 and will not drive it again until they tell me it has been fixed.

- Buxton, ME, USA

problem #11

Oct 012019


  • 12,300 miles
When pulling into a parking place, slowly, with right foot on the brake, getting ready to stop before the curb, the car accelerated, jumped the curb going over the sidewalk and hit the building. My right foot was still on the brake when it stopped. This happened in a doctors office parking lot. Air bags did not inflate.

- Surprise, AZ, USA

problem #10

Apr 122019


  • 16,500 miles
Our Toyota Highlander started showing symptoms of "soft brake pedal" in 4.2019 - nothing was found on diagnostic at dealership. Symptoms of "soft brake pedal continued to happen. Vehicle went into dealership again in 7.2019 and was diagnosed w/master cylinder brake fitting loose - fitting tightened and brake system flushed. Symptoms returned within 2 days and was brought back to dealership - case opened with Toyota engineering and master cylinder replaced. Picked up vehicle following day but symptoms of "soft brake pedal" returned 2 days later. Replication of "soft brake pedal" unable.to be replicated/diagnosed at dealership. Vehicle still "unsafe and hazardous" to drive. Awaiting follow up with Toyota.

- Island Lake, IL, USA

problem #9

Aug 152019

Highlander 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 14,100 miles
While driving the brake assist vacuum pump fails to provide adequate vacuum for the power brake vacuum assist. Resulting is a loss of braking power. A brake light illuminates intermitantly on the dash panel and possibly an audio warning and error message. Plus no error codes are stored in memory for future diagnosis. This happens whether on a rural road, city street or highway. A previous recall was issued for the 2018 Toyota Highlander for this same issue but not for this specific Highlander.

- Ravenna, OH, USA

problem #8

Aug 152019


  • 10,000 miles
At times, the brakes seem to randomly lock up. Almost like the pressure in the brake line is at full.

- Boulder Creek, CA, USA

problem #7

Dec 042018


  • 16,000 miles
The pre-collision system failed to assist in avoiding an accident when the car in front of me stopped suddenly in traffic on a highway. Since the repair, the brake warning indicator light on the speedometer side of the instrument cluster intermittently illuminates and the brake pedal pulses as if the ABS system is engaging. Once it stopped me suddenly while driving down a busy city street. Went from 35 to 0 very suddenly. I have taken this to 2 dealers and they say there is nothing wrong. The system does not indicate an error even though the light is on and they tested while it was on. I can recreate the issue by accelerating quickly while turning left. Sometimes it happens when going straight, but the only way to guarantee it will happen is to turn and accelerate quickly. Neither of the 2 dealers I have taken it to have found the issue and Toyota customer care stopped calling me back.

- Evansville, WI, USA

problem #6

Feb 092019


  • 300 miles
Car vibration at 40mph and up and brake vibration too.

- Simpsonville, SC, USA

Read the next 5 complaints »

Not what you are looking for?